11 August 2014

Two-clam day at Terumbu Raya

A very small team heads out well before dawn to check out Terumbu Raya.
We found two Giant clams and other amazing marine life. And also check for coral bleaching and other threats.

This submerged reef opposite Pulau Hantu and the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom, has a rich reef on the side facing Pulau Semakau.
Many creatures on the reef are often overlooked as boring rubble, such as Fluted giant clam. But Jianlin found a medium-sized Fluted giant clam. And Kok Sheng shortly found another one too!
This is a Lumpy rock crab! It looks like a piece of coral rubble and I only noticed it because it moved!
Another animal that resembles rubble is the Cushion star!
This black blob was not a sponge. It was a black frogfish!
Kok Sheng found a Tiger cowrie that may be mistaken for a stone covered in hairy growths.
This on the other hand, is a White-rumped sea cucumber!
Other animals hide in bigger animals! How nice to see several little Clown anemonefishes in this Giant carpet anemone.
There were lots of little colourful fishes. But this pretty little goby is my favourite photo of the night. It's probably the Black-spotted lagoon goby.
I saw several small Reef octopuses. This one crawled out of the water over sand to get back into its burrow!
Along the reef edge facing Pulau Semakau, there are some patches with large corals of various kinds. These include rare kinds like Moon corals. I also saw one Galaxy coral.
As usual, I do a quick check for bleaching corals. Most of the hard corals I saw were alright. Except for the Brain corals.
Here's some of the Brain corals I saw today.
I also saw several Carnation corals most were ok.
There were many Anemone corals and most were alright. Only a few were rather luminous yellow or green.
As usual, most of the corals were Favid corals. While some had bleaching patches (mostly at the top), most of them were alright. There were also many Pore hard corals and they were all mostly alright.
Plate forming corals seen include: Disk corals, Bracket mushroom coral and Ridged plate coral. Some were pale or yellowish, others were alright.
I was delighted to see many medium-sized colonies of Anchor corals. None of them were bleaching. During the last mass coral bleaching in 2010, Anchor corals were among the first to bleach.
Also among the first to bleach were Crinkled sandpaper coral and Cauliflower corals. Today, I did see one Crinkled sandpaper coral and it was alright. I did not see any Cauliflower corals. There were several small colonies of Branching Montipora corals and they were alright.
I saw a few small Leathery soft corals and they were alright. I did not come across any flowery soft corals.
There were some small patches of Spoon seagrasses and some Tape seagrass , many cropped, some medium length. None were long. All the seagrasses were heavily covered in epiphytes and a brown fuzz. This is similar to the situation I saw on my last visit here in Jul 2013.
The fuzzy brown stuff was also growing on seaweeds and sponges.
Fortunately, we didn't not find any nets. I only came across this decayed fish trap.
We enjoyed a spectacular sunrise!
And a moon set at the same time too!
Pei Yan aka the Drone Commander left the reef early to fly SG Sea Drone off the boat. Check out the SG Sea Drone facbeook page for updates!
Predawn trips continue tomorrow. This time on the Northern shores!

Posts by others on this trip

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